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3 scriptures to pray with when you're discerning


It makes sense that we would turn to the word of God when we are discerning, whether that be our vocation or some other decision. Of course, there are many passages we can turn to, and God will lead each one of us as he desires, lovingly speaking and revealing his word in our lives in personal ways. Having said that though, here are three scriptures you might like to turn to in the midst of your own discernment journey.

  • John 1: 35-39

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.’

In this one, I really invite you to pray with just five of the words uttered by Jesus – the rest of the story is here for context. In this account, we hear Jesus say to a couple of the disciples, What are you looking for? This is an invitation to sit with Jesus and articulate your desires. What is it that you are on fire for? What brings you alive? What are the goals and dreams that are deep inside you, that you may not even know how to talk about. Spend some time with Jesus and share with him what you are looking for – then take the time to sit and hear his reply to you.


  • Mark 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

I have met quite a few people who tell me that they think that they could never be a sister because they are not good enough, holy enough, gifted enough or something of the like. For those that feel this way, the poor widow can serve as inspiration. As she approached the treasury with two small coins in her hand, she was no doubt aware of the rather large amounts that others were putting in. Yet she is the one that Jesus praised because she gave all that she had.

In a similar way, as we discern where God is leading us, it is important to remember that God asks us only to give what we have, or in other words, to use our gifts as a loving response to him. Ask God to show you how it is that he has gifted you to share his love with the world.

  • Psalm 62

O God, you are my God, for you I long;                                                                                                                                                    for you my soul is thirsting.                                                                                                                                                                        My body pines for you                                                                                                                                                                              like a dry, weary land without water.                                                                                                                                                         So I gaze on you in the sanctuary                                                                                                                                                             to see your strength and your glory.

 For your love is better than life,                                                                                                                                                               my lips will speak your praise.                                                                                                                                                                 So I will bless you all my life,                                                                                                                                                                    in your name I will lift up my hands.                                                                                                                                                       My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,                                                                                                                                                   my mouth shall praise you with joy.

 On my bed I remember you                                                                                                                                                                     On you I muse through the night                                                                                                                                                             for you have been my help;                                                                                                                                                                       in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.                                                                                                                                                      My soul clings to you;                                                                                                                                                                         your right hand holds me fast.

This psalm is often entitled ‘thirsting for God’ and it sure is a rich treasury of verses that so beautifully describe one who thirsts and the way that God comes in abundance to fill them. I think this is the kind of psalm that can be easily taken into prayer line by line, day by day. Allow the words to deepen your own longing for God, your dependence on him, your pining for him even when it is tough.

So whether you use these scriptures or others as you pray and discern your vocation, don’t forget the powerful way that God can speak to us through his word. Allow him to touch you and bring you to life.

Mel Edwards